Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Mirror Of Erisid: Dumbledore & Grindlewald, the Elder Wand & Woolen Socks

We have all ready discussed this image and the importance of the details (please click here and scroll down to the bottom of the post for the discussion on this image). However, I would like to remind you that Dumbledore wears a gray coat (gray symbolizes the color of the pilgrim and the penitent, someone doing penance for a sin) and his coat covers him, rather like the woolen socks protecting his feet according to what he tells Harry he sees when he looks into the Mirror Of Erisid. Dumbledore also wears a gray hat, so his sense of penance is "on his mind" (the head symbolizes our thoughts, so anything pertaining to the head reveals what kind of thoughts that character does or does not have) and the clock on the right side symbolizes time in a general sense, the past in general or the future in general, and so Dumbledore is doing penance for things done in the past, but also possibly because he knows what he is capable of doing in the future if he himself should be the one to get the Deathly Hallows or Grindelwald should get him alone and make a convincing argument for Dumbledore to join him (we know that Grindelwald probably still thinks well of Dumbledore because he mentions it when he is disguised as Graves (Colin Farrell) in Fantastic Beasts right before sentencing Newt to execution.
Now, there is a detail I didn't mention in our previous discussion on this image: Dumbledore's beard. He obviously doesn't have the immense, flowing white beard we are accustomed to seeing him wearing, and that's because of the symbolism of beards. Now, gentlemen, please do not get offended if you yourself sport facial hair, this is about artistic interpretation and not personal style. The mouth symbolizes our appetites, and a beard or mustache forms around the mouth, so the appetites naturally come into play when interpreting a man's facial hair as a part of his larger character. It's neat and trim, but it's also young, in the sense that any man could have a beard like this, i.e., it hasn't decided what it has an appetite for. At this age, Dumbledore may have an appetite for wisdom, but he isn't old enough to have the experience requite for wisdom, and not having a lot of wisdom, he also doesn't have the handmaid of wisdom, discernment, so it's likely that Dumbledore's beard symbolizes his appetite for power ("for the greater good" sounds wise, until you have experience to really understand what that likely does not mean) as much as it symbolizes an appetite for wisdom, and his journey over these next four films will be his journey of self-discovery as much as his rise to power and defeat of Grindlewald. 
Back during Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (which Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes Of Grindlewald is going back to as well) Harry found the Mirror Of Erised and Professor Dumbledore told him that it shows the heart's deepest, most desperate desire, and that the happiest man in the world would look into the mirror and see himself as he truly is. When Harry asks Dumbledore what he himself sees when he looks into the mirror (and I think this is only in the book), Dumbledore replies, myself, wearing a nice pair of woolen socks. This has stumped Potter fans since the book came out, but now that we actually see Dumbledore looking into the Mirror of Erised and seeing Grindlewald, it's time to review that scene for a surprising answer.
Harry sitting in front of the mirror when Dumbledore has mysteriously appeared behind him and chastising Harry for looking into the mirror "again," because Harry sees the family he never had. It's difficult to tell from this image, but Harry wears a red sweater, and red as we know is the color of blood, the most valuable thing we have, so whatever it is we are willing to spend our blood upon is what we value the most. In this case, Harry would be willing to die to see his family again, and we know, ultimately, that is what happens with the Resurrection Stone. 
We know that feet symbolize our will: because our feet take us in life where we want to go the way our will takes us to where we want to end up in life, so anything pertaining to a character's feet reveals something about their will, and this includes socks because socks are worn on the feet. Dumbledore tells Harry the mirror shows the heart's deepest, most desperate desire, and some people have speculated that Dumbledore was lying, or at least telling just a half-truth; I rather believe Dumbledore was telling the whole truth, but because so little is known of him, we couldn't find the road to take to discover the real meaning.
Here it is, the Mirror of Erised and fans totally freaked out seeing Dumbledore seeing Grindlewald in it. That we see Dumbledore seeing Grindlewald in the mirror confirms the view that later, when Dumbledore tells Harry he sees himself wearing woolen socks, it relates back to Grindlewald because obviously his old friend is very deep in his heart,.... like the socks. We have all ready taken a fairly detailed examination of this image, but allow be to refresh your mind on a few details and slip in a new one: we see Dumbledore's back, and there are a great number of instances where we see Dumblefore from behind; why? Someone's back in this example can symbolize a number of things: one, it can be their history, that part of them that is "behind them," or it might not be their back, it might be their shoulders we are supposed to notice, and then that would mean their burdens they are willing to carry, or not willing to carry. A character's back also can relate to an audience how, when or why a character feels vulnerable, especially if that character is "hiding something" or is unable to see something in themselves because the back is like a shadow, and it communicates that which isn't seen or cannot be seen by the character. Dumbledore is obviously looking into a mirror, so he "wants to see" but this is a "trick mirror" and it's not what you need to see, but what you want to see. Last, but not least, Dumbledore appears to have something he wears around his left wrist. We have all ready discussed how one sleeve being raised up symbolizes his strength (the arm) he is willing to reveal (maybe Dumbledore is telling Grindlewald he refuses to join him, for example) but the sleeve covering his right arm hides some strength he does not want to reveal (maybe that he knows he can rely upon Newt to help him). The bracelet, however, will be a most interesting detail, because bracelets often symbolize something which "chains us": since our arms symbolize strength, a bracelet can be like a handcuff, something we (usually) willingly chain ourselves to in devotion or delusion that we need or want it. 
"Socks" cover the feet, and they can be used to deceive about a character's intent or reveal a character's intent, however, the detail about them being "woolen" means these are socks intended to protect the one wearing them from the cold, and this detail of "protecting" suggests that Dumbledore's deepest desire was that he had "protected" his will (his feet). Knowing the story of how Grindlewald's desire for world power through the Deathly Hallows seduced young Dumbledore, and knowing that Dumbledore has always regretted it, we could point to that as an interpretation for the woolen socks Dumbledore tells Harry he sees when he looks into the mirror; the woolen socks do not have to be related to Dumbledore's history with Grindlewald, however, the woolen socks definitely speak of Dumbledore having wished he had exercised more wisdom over his will, but this is where it gets interesting,.....
The Super Carlin Brothers have put together this incredibly well-thought out theory regarding the relationship of the Deathly Hallows to The Veil (the one Sirius Black passes through in the Department Of Mysteries) and the Mirror of Erisid, I highly recommend you watch it! These are the two wands: the Elder Wand, which Grindlewald stole on your left, and Dumbledore's personal wand on the right. Yes, they look remarkably similar, and that's an important point in the film: when does madness impersonate wisdom and how can we tell the difference? 
Towards the end of The Philosopher's Stone, Dumbledore tells Harry that only a person who didn't want to use the stone would be able to find it, which is why Harry found the stone in his own pocket. I believe the same theory is going to hold true for the Elder Wand: in other words, when Dumbledore tells Newt, "It has to be you" to move against Grindlewald, because he himself can't, I am quite confident this is the moment when what Dumbledore will later tell Harry Potter takes seed, but first with Newt: Newt doesn't have any ambition, but at this point in his life, Dumbledore still likely does have ambition, or fears he could bring his ambitions back to life if he gets the wand, any of the other Hallows or spends time with Grindlewald. It will only be at the end of the five Fantastic Beasts films that Dumbledore, like Harry looking for the Philosopher's Stone, will only be able to get it when Dumbledore has no ambition to have it at all, but it will take Dumbledore that long in order to purge himself of those desires. Remember, Fantastic Beasts are prequals, so we are starting at the beginning and working our way towards the middle ground we are all ready familiar with. I can highly recommend the Super Carlin Brothers' video on The Mystery Of the Veil and its relationship to the Deathly Hallows, and around 5:40, they discuss their excellent theory on the relationship between the Elder Wand and the Mirror of Erised, please watch this, it's great!
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The Fine Art Diner